A Guide to CRO: Agency or in-house?

Once upon a time, the only way to purchase goods was to visit a physical store, pick up your items and pay for them at the checkout. But today, there are tons of different ways to shop. With e-commerce booming in the last year, the way we shop is changing. So much so, that 60% of people have even admitted to making an online purchase whilst on the toilet!

So, it’s clear the landscape is shifting, but have you ever wondered how to make the most of your e-commerce site? That’s where CRO comes in.

What is CRO and why is it important for your business?

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website. In short, you may be able to drive traffic to the site through a well-thought-out marketing strategy, but if the customer isn’t buying, then you may be in need of CRO.

CRO is often used to for making small changes to your site to ensure your marketing journey is smooth and seamless.

Why is CRO important for your business?

CRO lets you take control over your conversions. Analysing data, CRO helps you gain a better understanding of your customers and what they want. By understanding who your customers are, what they want and what they need, you can market to them much more effectively.

If you can do this, they are far more likely to buy.

What’s better: in-house or agency?

Now that we’ve established that you definitely should be taking CRO seriously, you may be wondering whether to use CRO in-house or lean on the support of an agency? To help you decide, we’ve rounded up the top pros and cons for each.


The main benefit for going in-house is that the person responsible for CRO is always there, has deep business knowledge and cross-departmental functions. Although agencies do have an in-depth understanding of each client, the level of inside business knowledge you acquire in-house is second to none.

However, this can be a double-edged sword. That very benefit can also result in ‘tunnel vision’ where the individual becomes overly familiar with the site, potentially missing opportunities.

Agency side

Many businesses now have a hybrid approach with in-house experts and agencies working together. Agencies are a much more flexible resource compared to salaried employees, and with an agency you’ll gain access to a whole team of experts working for you.

However, it all depends on how good the agency is. Richard Ellis and Tom Walkden, PPC experts at equation digital, collated some important aspects to consider when working with a paid media agency.

Firstly, make sure you ask who will be managing your campaign. It’s important to understand how the team is aligned with your objectives and how they will be supporting the planning, management and reporting. If you have a dedicated campaign team, you’ll be able to communicate consistently from the off.

Secondly, you should know how the agency team will manage the account. Any agency worth their salt will have processes and tools in place to support continuous management, reporting and improvements.

As well as this, you should also ask to see relevant accreditations and certifications, and ensure you are told how many hours the team will spend on your account. After all, nobody likes to feel ripped off!

The bottom line

With footfall in shops down by 40%, an increasing number of businesses are turning to e-commerce (specifically CRO) to ensure they keep their customers spending and returning. However, finding the right solution isn’t always straightforward. Although going in-house or agency side both have their benefits, which you go for is down to personal preference.

If you do decide to take the plunge and opt for an agency, make sure it’s a reputable agency that will provide good value for money.  

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